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Fathers and Sons
by Ivan Turgenev
Fathers and Sons Chapter 9 Summary
The same day, Bazarov meets Fenichka. He and Arkady are strolling through the garden, and Bazarov is explaining why many of the trees are not doing well. When Bazarov catches sight of Fenichka sitting under the trees with Dunyasha and Mitya, he exclaims, "Who's that?" (9.4). Arkady explains Fenichka's relations with his father, and Bazarov says, "That shows your father's got good taste. I like your father, I really do" (9.8). He insists on meeting Fenichka. Arkady is shocked and wants Bazarov to mind himself. Bazarov ignores him and goes and politely introduces himself to Fenichka. Seeing that Mitya's cheeks are flushed, Bazarov asks if the baby is cutting his teeth. Fenichka says that he is. Bazarov asks to see it and tells them not to be alarmed because he is a doctor. When he takes the baby in his arms, both Fenichka and Dunyasha are surprised that the baby does not protest. When Bazarov asks how Fenichka is doing, she says well, thanks to... but he cuts her off. He asks the same of Dunyasha, who giggles. The two women comment on how calm the child was with Bazarov. Dunyasha says, "Children know when people are fond of them" (9.25). Arkady asks to see the baby, but when he tries to lure Mitya into his arms, the child begins screaming. Fenichka is embarrassed. Arkady indulgently tells her that it can wait until another day. As Arkady and Bazarov walk off, Bazarov inquires after Fenichka. He says that she is a good mother, and that both she and Arkady's father are right. Bazarov asks if Arkady is uncomfortable with their relationship, and Arkady says that he thinks his father should marry her. Bazarov is amazed that Arkady still has faith in marriage. Bazarov begins criticizing Nikolai's establishment, saying that the he needs to watch his peasants because "the Russian peasant will get the better of God himself" (9.44). Arkady thinks that his uncle is right that Bazarov has a low opinion of Russians. Bazarov cleverly retorts, "The only good thing about a Russian is the poor opinion he has of himself" (9.46). Arkady asks if nature is also trivial, and Bazarov says that it is in the sense he thinks of it. Bazarov says one should think of nature not as a temple, but as a workshop. There is the sound of someone playing Schubert's Expectation on the cello "with feeling, though in an amateurish manner, and the melody flowed sweet as honey through the air" (9.49). When Arkady tells Bazarov that it is his father, Bazarov laughs that an old man in an out of the way province wastes his time playing the cello. Arkady does not even smile.
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